876 days ago, Barack Obama took office as President of the United States of America. As President, Barack Obama is required under federal law to nominate five members of a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the job of which is to use its subpoena power to review the search and surveillance activities of the U.S. Government, to report on violations of Americans’ constitutional rights to Congress and the public, and to coordinate government action in a manner designed to prevent civil liberties violations in the future.
876 days have passed since Inauguration Day, plenty of time to nominate five people. But President Barack Obama has only nominated two people to sit on the board, and he waited until December 2010 to do that. By federal law, three members are required for the board to meet. Until President Obama nominates a third member, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board cannot possibly function.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is required to consider and vote on these two nominees to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The Senate Judiciary Committee has not considered their nominations. It has not even scheduled a hearing to consider them.
What is the government for? When it comes to searches and surveillance, it’s for action. When it comes to following the law on searches and surveillance and protecting Americans’ rights, the government is a body of inaction.